Vatican official to visit South Dakota over sainthood case

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A Vatican official is headed to South Dakota to consider promoting the case of sainthood for a Lakota holy man who converted more than 400 people to the Catholic faith.

The Rapid City Journal reports that a bishop last year accepted a petition signed by 1,400 people that opened the cause for the canonization of Nicholas Black Elk. A Vatican official from Rome will arrive in Rapid City this month to potentially write a paper summarizing Black Elk's life and virtues.

Black Elk was appointed a catechist by Jesuits in the early 1900s to evangelize on tribal lands.

If the official chooses to write the paper, it'll then be voted on by a theological commission in Rome. The issue will then be sent to the pope, who may kick off the miracle reporting process.

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